~ Andrea Cortonesi ploughing his tiny parcel of vineyards ~

More times than I can recollect, people have asked me “What’s a good Brunello?” or “Who are the best producers?” and it’s always easy to rattle off some top names and a few of my favorites.  I have written about Uccelliera before and have enjoyed their wines, but for some reason I often forget about them and that’s a fact I must correct.  Today’s post will be the start.
Uccelliera is a tiny estate, all of 6 hectares and sits in the southeast corner of the Brunello zone near Castelnuovo dell’Abate,  a region known for producing bolder wines due to the generally lower elevation and slightly warmer temperatures.
Interestingly, the land that is now the Uccelliera farm belonged to the neighboring Ciacci Piccolomini family until it was purchaed by winemaker Andrea Cortonesi in 1986.   He set out to create an artisan farm and now in addition to producing wine, he also produces excellent olive oil and honey. 

Although not certified organic, the estate practices organic principles at each stage of production with a focus on attention to detail from the hand pruning of the vines to fertilization, harvesting and winemaking. 

Andrea personifies his sensitivity to nature with this quote: 
“Next to the residence I have left a half-hectare olive grove, which might seem odd, seeing that the plot would be more valuable planted with grapes. But the land has its way of reminding us that to ask too much of it is to somehow lower the quality of one’s life. Just being able to dine outdoors in the evening, by this olive grove, gazing out over the vines, without necessarily thinking of the needs of the vineyard, is a precious thing.”
~ Andrea & his wife, Paola ~

When I attended Benvenuto Brunello this past January, it was obvious to me that the 2012 Rosso di Montalcino were going to very special wines.  Even from the small tastes poured, it’s apparent the vintage is special.  Today’s post offers a first look at the bottled wines. 
With nothing more than pasta, turkey meatballs and a wedge of Pecorino, we enjoyed the 2012 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino last night.   The wine was not decanted, but was opened about 30 minutes before dinner.
In the glass, it’s a beautiful deep, bright violet color clear to the rim.  The aromas from this young wine are stunning.  There’s a wonderful blossom of crushed wild red berry fruit that’s accented with flowers, freshly mown hay, fresh herbs and soft sandalwood.   The flavors echo the nose and are bright, juicy and focused.  The core of fruit just glides and lingers on the palate; so juicy, so fresh.  The essence of warm clay, dust, and ripe fennel notes are precise and seamless.  Medium bodied and long with a balanced, spicy finish that cleanses the palate, this is absolutely delicious.  Once these rossos are released, if the prices stay down, it will be a vintage to stock up on.  From these early indications, it appears to be the best Rosso vintage I’ve tasted in almost 20 years.  This is not yet released in most markets.   92 points, price should be about $22.   Disclosure:  This bottle was an importer provided sample.

~ 2012 Rosso from Uccelliera ~

E vero!

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